How to Treat Onycholysis at Home

Are you struggling with onycholysis, causing your nails to detach from the nail bed? Discover how to treat this problem at home with natural remedies and lifestyle changes. You can easily manage this condition and restore the health of your nails.

Quick facts: Treating Onycholysis At Home

✅ Moisturizing and avoiding water exposure are the two most important things for treating onycholysis at home (Mayo Clinic)
✅ Wearing protective gloves when doing housework or gardening can also help treat onycholysis (WebMD)
✅ Nail polish, nail strengtheners and cosmetics or lotions containing formaldehyde, toluene and DBP should be avoided (American Academy of Dermatology)
✅ Vitamin B12 supplements can help treat onycholysis (Healthline)
✅ Keeping the nails and surrounding skin clean can also help with the treatment of onycholysis (Healthline)

  • ✅ Moisturizing and avoiding water exposure are the two most important things for treating onycholysis at home (Mayo Clinic)
  • ✅ Wearing protective gloves when doing housework or gardening can also help treat onycholysis (WebMD)
  • ✅ Nail polish, nail strengtheners and cosmetics or lotions containing formaldehyde, toluene and DBP should be avoided (American Academy of Dermatology)
  • ✅ Vitamin B12 supplements can help treat onycholysis (Healthline)
  • ✅ Keeping the nails and surrounding skin clean can also help with the treatment of onycholysis (Healthline)


Onycholysis is a condition in which the nail plate detaches from the skin beneath it. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including damage to the nail bed, infection, or use of harsh chemicals. Symptoms can include pain or swelling as well as discoloration that can make nails look grayish-white.

In some cases, onycholysis is uncomfortable but not serious; however, if severe and left untreated it can increase the risk for secondary bacterial or fungal infections leading to other nail bed problems.

There are several treatments that may be used to address this condition at home and help restore the health of your nails. These treatments range from simple lifestyle changes to professional medical products and therapies:

  • Simple lifestyle changes
  • Professional medical products
  • Professional medical therapies

Causes of Onycholysis

Onycholysis is a condition where the toenail or fingernail lifts off the nail bed due to several factors. The most common causes of onycholysis include trauma, allergies, fungal infections, bacterial infections, and medications. Other potential causes include low humidity and thyroid diseases.

Let’s look at the various causes in detail:

Fungal infection

A fungal infection of the nail, known as onychomycosis, is the most common cause of onycholysis. Fungal organisms can enter into the nails topically through trauma or by coming in contact with contaminated objects. People who spend a lot of time in damp areas, such as public showers or swimming pools, are more prone to developing a fungal infection due to higher moisture levels around their nails.

Symptoms of a fungal infection may include flaking, yellowing and thickening of the nail plate. An antifungal medication prescribed by a doctor is often needed to treat this type of onycholysis.

Trauma or injury

Trauma or injury to the nail is a common cause of onycholysis. This includes repeated trauma from activities like sports and occupational working environments as well as physical injury such as dropping a heavy object on your foot or hitting your toe. It can also occur from wearing tight and/or uncomfortable footwear. In some cases, nail trauma can cause the underlying nail bed to have inflammation that leads to pain in the area.

To help decrease the risk of onycholysis, maintain a healthy diet and wear comfortable shoes that fit properly and support the foot. Protect your hands from any kind of trauma and when working with tools, try to use protective gloves when possible. Additionally, be aware of any foreign objects or chemicals that may come into contact with your nails; this could result in an allergic reaction which may trigger onycholysis.

Allergic reaction

Onycholysis is a distressing condition in which the nail separates from the nail bed, leading to a discoloured, deformed and often painful nail. One of the most common causes of onycholysis is an allergic reaction.

Allergic reactions can be caused by exposure to numerous substances such as chemicals, dyes, metals or drugs. Commonly known allergens that can cause an allergic reaction include items such as perfumes and cosmetics, cleaning agents and detergents, wool clothing or jewellery containing nickel.

Allergic reactions to these materials can cause inflammation of the skin and can result in onycholysis. Those with known allergies should be aware of products that may contain potential allergens and take extra care when coming into contact with them in order to reduce their risk for developing onycholysis due to an allergic reaction.

Thyroid disease

Onycholysis is a rare medical condition that causes a person’s fingernails or toenails to detach from the nails bed. This detachment can cause the pressurized area under the nail to swell up and bulge outwards.

One of the main causes of onycholysis is thyroid disease, an endocrine disorder that occurs when the thyroid gland produces too much (hyperthyroidism) or not enough (hypothyroidism) hormones.

When the thyroid isn’t producing enough hormones, it can affect the body’s production of keratin, which is what makes up nails and skin cells. This lack of keratin can cause dryness and brittleness in nails resulting in onycholysis.

Other symptoms associated with hypothyroidism are:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Dry skin
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Sensitivity to cold temperatures

If you experience any combination of these symptoms along with onycholysis it could be indicative of an underlying thyroid disorder. Proper diagnosis should be made by a doctor as soon as possible in order to ensure proper treatment and care for your individual condition.


Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that can trigger onycholysis. Flaking of the nail plate, usually accompanied by bluish discoloration, is often caused by psoriasis. Other symptoms of this skin condition may include thickening and yellowing of the nails. Psoriatic nails can cause pain and discomfort, especially if it’s pressing against the soft tissue surrounding the nail plate. When triggered by psoriasis, onycholysis may spread to adjacent nails, creating a patterned discoloration. In severe cases, the entire nail may be affected.

There are several treatments available for onycholysis caused by psoriasis. These include:

  • Topical corticosteroids such as betamethasone ointment or cream;
  • Topical calcipotriene (Dovonex) lotion;
  • Phototherapy with UV light or lasers;
  • Oral medications such as methotrexate and cyclosporine;
  • Injections of biologics such as etanercept (Enbrel).

Home Treatments

Onycholysis can be treated at home with certain measures to improve the condition of your nails. These home treatments are effective as they allow you to be in control of your condition and can save you time and money.

In this article, we will take a look at treatments such as:

  • Using moisturizers.
  • Keeping your nails dry.
  • Using easy remedies to treat onycholysis.

Clean the nail and surrounding area

When treating Onycholysis at home, it is important to clean the nail and surrounding area thoroughly. Begin by washing your hands with soap and water, then use a cotton swab and rubbing alcohol to dampen the affected nail. This will help reduce bacteria that can cause infection.

Once the area is cleaned, it is essential to trim the affected nails as close as possible using a nail clipper or similar tool. Trimming the nails too short can cause further damage to your nails, so be sure to follow the shapes of your natural cuticles when making cuts. After trimming off any excess nail material, use a file to remove sharp edges that could snag on clothing or other fabrics.

Finally, apply an antifungal oil or ointment around the base of each nail every day for extra protection against infection.

Soak the affected nail in warm water

Soaking the affected nail in warm water is one of the most effective home treatments for onycholysis. To do this, you can fill a bowl or foot basin with hot water and add a few drops of an antifungal/antibacterial soap. Then, soak your toe or finger for 15 minutes, allowing your nail to absorb the warm liquid.

After soaking your nail, gently massage it with your fingers and then pat dry it with a clean cloth or paper towel. This will help to lift up the affected areas of the nail’s surface and increase blood circulation and cell growth in those regions. You can also use a softening cream to keep the area moist and help facilitate healing.

Home treatments like these are safe to use and may help promote healing over time.

Apply an antifungal cream

If your onycholysis is caused by a fungal infection, one home treatment option is to apply an antifungal cream directly to the nail bed. Some over-the-counter options include clotrimazole and miconazole. These creams can help clear up the infection, reduce discomfort, and promote healthy nail growth.

It may take up to 3 months for the nail to return to a normal shape and color, so patience is key when attempting this treatment. Additionally, you may need to use the cream for an extended period of time in order for it to be effective.

If your onycholysis does not improve after using an antifungal cream for several weeks, you should consult a doctor as further treatment may be necessary:

  • Use the cream for an extended period of time.
  • Consult a doctor if the onycholysis does not improve.

Wear protective gloves for activities

One of the best ways to help prevent onycholysis is to wear protective gloves for activities that could potentially cause further damage to the nail or injure the nail bed, such as gardening and cleaning. Tight-fitting gloves provide maximum protection and are best for activities that require close contact with objects or surfaces.

If you cannot wear gloves for a certain task, make sure to carefully clean your hands afterwards, before touching any other surface. Being mindful of what your nails come into contact with can help stop the spread of infection and protect against further injury.


Onycholysis is a condition that causes your nails to separate from the nail bed, and it can often be painful. Taking preventive measures is the best way to avoid the discomfort associated with the condition.

Let’s take a look at the steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing onycholysis:

Avoid harsh chemicals

Avoiding harsh chemicals is an important step in treating onycholysis at home. Harsh chemicals such as acetone, alcohol, and strong disinfectants can cause the skin around the nail to become even more irritated, causing further damage. If you are using these products to clean a surface, make sure to wear gloves and keep them away from your nails.

Nail polish remover should also be avoided as it contains acetone that can irritate the skin around your nails. Additionally, wearing protective gloves or handkerchiefs when washing dishes or cleaning can help protect your nails from chemical exposure.

Wear protective gloves

One of the most important ways to prevent and treat Onycholysis at home is to wear protective gloves. Wearing protective gloves helps protect the hands and nails from any further damage, as well as protecting them from potential irritants that can cause Onycholysis. In many cases, wearing gloves while handling household or occupational cleaning products can help reduce your risk of developing Onycholysis.

Additionally, anyone who works outdoors in cold or wet conditions should consider wearing insulated gloves or waterproof boots to help keep the hands and nails dry. Additionally, it’s important to moisturize both the hands and nails regularly with lotion or oil to keep them healthy and hydrated. Lastly, try to avoid using harsh chemicals on the hands or nails as this can aggravate existing irritation caused by Onycholysis.

Keep your feet and hands dry

One of the most important things you can do to help treat onycholysis is to keep your feet and hands dry. When your feet and hands are wet, bacteria and fungi thrive in the moist environment, which can worsen your condition. Keeping your feet dry is especially important because the natural oils and moisture in the skin around the nails can lead to bacterial or fungal infections.

Whenever possible, choose shoes that will allow air circulation around your toes. In addition, wear clean cotton socks and change them daily to keep moisture levels low. After you bathe or swim, make sure you thoroughly dry your hands and feet before putting on socks and shoes. If need be, use a hair dryer set on a low setting to completely dry individual toes or fingers.

Avoid sharing nail clippers

Onycholysis is the separation of a fingernail or toenail from the nail bed, which can be caused by a number of things ranging from trauma to infection.

One of the primary prevention methods for onycholysis is to avoid sharing nail clippers and other manicure tools. Sharing personal grooming tools can introduce bacteria and fungi into your nails, which can cause an infection that leads to onycholysis.

Additionally, it’s important to clean your clippers and scissors after every use with rubbing alcohol, which will kill any remaining bacteria or fungi that may have been introduced during use. If you do not have access to rubbing alcohol, simply washing the tool with soap and water should suffice.


In conclusion, treating Onycholysis at home is possible in many cases. However, it is important to note that if you have any underlying skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema, it is best to consult with your dermatologist first.

Treatment options for treating Onycholysis from home can include:

  • Soaking of the affected nails in warm water and gentle exfoliating scrubs and soaks.
  • Applying topical antifungal medications may be beneficial in some cases.
  • Eating a balanced diet and limiting your exposure to nail care products can help prevent the recurrence of Onycholysis.

FAQs about: Treating Onycholysis At Home

Q: What is onycholysis?

A: Onycholysis is a condition in which the nail separates from the nail bed, usually due to trauma, an allergic reaction, or a fungal infection.

Q: How can onycholysis be treated at home?

A: Onycholysis can be treated at home by soaking the affected area in warm water and mild soap, avoiding contact with harsh chemicals, and applying a moisturizer or topical antifungal cream to the affected area.

Q: Is there anything I should avoid while treating onycholysis?

A: It is important to avoid contact with harsh chemicals, such as detergents, soaps, and nail polish removers, as these can irritate the affected area.

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